There's something immensely satisfying about handmade furniture versus the mass-produced particleboard stuff -- perhaps it's that presence and history of traditional techniques, or just the intimacy imparted by the fact that a human made it with human hands, rather than a machine. That vibrant presence is seen in Brooklyn-based designer and woodworker Kate Casey's functional, woven pieces of furniture, which are decorated with striking geometric patterns using only different colours of natural cotton cord.
Seen over at Design Milk, Casey's one-woman furniture-making operation, Peg Woodworking, was begun back in 2013 as an outgrowth of Casey's background as a sculptor. Her practice brings together her interests in handcrafted joinery, Danish cord weaving, crochet, as well as macrame techniques and Shaker-styled furniture.
Casey tells her story on Technology as Hands, and interestingly, she's also partially self-taught, creating her own hybrid techniques, thanks to the new world of abundant video tutorials found online:
I have always been greatly influenced by complex geometric patterning found in Peruvian weaving, Navajo rugs and Islamic tile. These patterns which verge on optical illusions are referenced regularly in the design process. Most pieces begin with a drawn geometric inspiration that evolves to fit the design. Each piece is custom and hand made with unique woven accents.
Wanting to learn seat weaving I turned to online tutorials which showed the Shaker and Danish cord weaving process. After a short time mimicking the traditional techniques I realized there were material and technical limitations that I kept encountering. This caused me to look at more artistic less utilitarian weaving and knotting processes such as tapestry and macrame. Filling up on online tutorials I was able to combine a series of techniques to form the weaving process I now use.
Casey's work is refreshingly simple and modern, but also sustainably-minded: she uses only locally sourced and non-toxic wood, finishing her pieces with natural oil sealants rather than harmful products. She also uses steel for some of her frames.
But the star of the show is Casey's skill with taking complex, traditional patterns and adding a bit of her own flair to it, using interesting colours and contrasts, as well as well-crafted frames with beautiful joinery.
In a testament to the endurance of traditional craft, as well as a bit of modern self-taught creativity, Casey's meticulous craftsmanship and innovative approach shines through in her sublime work. See more over at Peg Woodworking and Instagram.